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Providence to open Big East season at Xavier

09.13.16 at 3:02 pm ET
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PROVIDENCE — Ed Cooley’s sixth team at Providence College may be less experienced than the past couple of editions, but the schedule won’t be affording these young Friars many breaks.

The Big East Conference on Tuesday announced the complete league schedule for 2016-17, featuring 18 games (9 home, 9 away) in a round-robin format with each of the Big East’s 10 teams.

PC’s Big East slate will launch on Dec. 28 in Cincinnati at 7 p.m. against Xavier.

Nine home games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center will begin the next week on Jan. 4, as Georgetown will visit. But before PC gets the home confines of the Dunk,
the young Friars will have to open with two games on the road — following the opening league game at Xavier will be a trip to Indianapolis to face Butler on New Year’s Day in a 3 p.m. tip.

The Friars lose two-time Big East Player of the Year Kris Dunn (now with the Timberwolves) and first-team all-Big East forward Ben Bentil (second-round pick of the Celtics) from last year’s 24-11
team that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Providence defeated USC in the opening round before falling to eventual national runner-up North Carolina in the next game. PC also loses guard Junior Lomomba from last year’s team, as the graduate transfer will play this season at Western Kentucky.

Two starters (and a third part-time starter) return in Rodney Bullock, Jalen Lindsey and Kyron Cartwright. Four freshmen and six first-year players overall are expected to see playing time this season. Season practices will begin next month, with the opening game Nov. 14 at the Dunk against Vermont.

Two games of note for this year as opposed to recent seasons. One, instead of the New Year’s Eve Marathon, the Big East is moving its wall-to-wall coverage of games (all 10 teams, five games back-to-back) to MLK Day on Jan. 16. Providence will play the nightcap at Georgetown for the MLK Day Marathon. And two, the Big East opener at Xavier on Dec. 28 (rather than on New Year’s Eve) is a change from previous seasons under the Big East 2.0, since the league reconfigured prior to the 2013-14 season.

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Patrick Towles, Jeff Smith combine for 2 TDs, BC beats UMass for first win

09.10.16 at 3:52 pm ET
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NCAA Football: Boston College vs Massachusetts

Boston College’s defense had UMass quarterback Ross Comis under wraps all day at Gillette Stadium. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Patrick Towles threw a pair of touchdown passes to Jeff Smith in the second quarter and the defense allowed just 122 yards on the day in a 26-7 Boston College win over UMass at Gillette Stadium Saturday afternoon.

It was the ninth straight win for BC over UMass, dating back to a 27-0 UMass win in 1978 at Amherst. Boston College now leads the series, 21-5, a rivalry dating back to the fist meeting 1899.

Towles, the transfer from Kentucky, completed 12 of 22 passes for 191 yards for the Eagles (1-1), which bounced back from last week’s heartbreaking 17-14 loss in Ireland to Georgia Tech.

Towles also ran 12 times for 70 yards while Smith had five catches for 98 yards. Jon Hilliman ran 22 times for 63 yards and a 15-yard touchdown.

UMass (0-2), which trailed No. 25 Florida 10-7 in the fourth quarter last week, battled hard again against a major conference program. In making a return visit to their split-home of Gillette Stadium, the Minutemen took a 7-0 lead into the second quarter on a 58-yard pass from Ross Comis to Adam Breneman in the first quarter.

Comis finished 11 of 28 for 145 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

The Eagles made a change in the kicking game, as coach Steve Addazio benched Colton Lichtenberg for Mike Knoll. Early on, it made no difference as Knoll missed his first PAT. But he converted on the second Towles-to-Smith connection to make it 13-7.

Knoll added third-quarter field goals of 40 and 37 yards to boost the Eagles lead to 19-7.

Hilliman capped off the scoring with a 15-yard run up the middle with just over four minutes left to seal Boston College’s first win since beating Northern Illinois, 17-14, on Sept. 26, 2015.

Boston College returns to ACC action next week when they play at Virginia Tech while UMass returns to their other home, taking on Florida International at McGuirk Stadium in Amherst.

Late TD lifts Georgia Tech past Boston College, ACC skid still in tact for Eagles

09.03.16 at 1:54 pm ET
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NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Boston College

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Dedrick Mills (26) dives over the line for a touchdown with only 35 seconds of the fourth quarter remaining of the game between the Boston College Eagles and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Aviva Stadium. (Steve Flynn/USA Today Sports)

Even a continent away, the misery continues for Boston College.

Needing only to stop a fourth-and-19 by Georgia Tech at the Yellow Jackets 32-yard line to seal its first ACC win since 2014, the Eagles defense allowed quatertback Justin Thomas to complete a pass to Qua Searcy for 22 yds to the BC 46 with just over 2:30 left in the game.

Seven plays later, Dedrick Mills, who fumbled earlier in the game, ran it in from four yards out for the go-ahead score in a 17-14 Georgia Tech win Saturday in Dublin, Ireland.

Mills’ touchdown run with 35 seconds remaining capped a drive that included two big completions from Thomas. The senior quarterback also found Ricky Jeune for 26 yards on third dow three plays after his clutch completion to Searcy. Mills totaled 68 yards on the wet ground to pace the Georgia Tech attack.

Boston College (0-1, 0-1 ACC), which lost all eight games in conference last year, lost its ninth straight ACC game dating back to a 28-7 win over Syracuse in a brawl-marred game on Nov. 29, 2014 at Alumni Stadium.

Georgia Tech (1-0, 1-0 ACC) won its first game played outside of the United States in the 124-year history of the program.

The Yellow Jackets’ only touchdowns came on their first and last drives of the game. Backup quarterback Matthew Jordan’s 3-yard scoring run capped the opening drive. Boston College, which showed its terrific trademark defense until the final drive, held Georgia Tech’s spread-option attack to 238 yards, including 121 yards on the ground.

The Eagles took a 14-7 lead on quarterback Patrick Towles’ 6-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. The graduate transfer from Kentucky, making his first start for the Eagles, threw an interception and lost a fumble in the first half. Boston College never could take full advantage of their supremacy at the line of scrimmage, outgaining Georgia Tech in total yards, 313-238.

Jon Hillman’s 73-yard touchdown run on the Eagles’ first play of the second half tied the game at 7-7. Hillman ran for 102 yards on 17 carries.

A common theme through the Boston College struggles has been their inability to convert in the kicking game. That also continued Saturday as sophomore Colton Lichtenberg had a 43-yard field goal blocked in the first half and hooked a 35-yard try wide left in the second half.

Steady rain throughout the game made the Aviva Stadium turf somewhat treacherous.

Read More: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Patrick Towles,

Steve Addazio says ‘a lot of good things happened’ in first BC scrimmage Saturday

08.13.16 at 12:58 pm ET
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Coach Steve Addazio oversaw the first scrimmage Saturday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The Eagles took their first big step toward improving on their 3-9 mark of a year ago when they took the field for their first scrimmage Saturday.

After the first week of formal preseason practice, the Eagles went through game situations early Saturday morning.

The Eagles played their first intrasquad scrimmage on Shea Field bright and early, emerging from the Yawkey Center locker room at 7:40 a.m. to prep. The formal scrimmage – almost two-and-a-half hours long – put the Eagles in a variety of game situations with varied personnel groupings.

Steve Addazio watched the action from the center of the field, and got his first look at the Eagles in an full offense-defense atmosphere.

“It’s was good,” Addazio said. “A lot of good things happened. [There are] a lot of things to work on. We did a lot of work and we have a lot of stuff we can evaluate. We are not too badly hurt and you always feel good about that.

“We made some big plays on offense and gave away some plays some big plays on defense – made some good plays, gave up some good plays. It was good. There was enough to go around out there. There was a lot of good competition out there. We have a good chance to watch that tape and evaluate it,” he said.

While there was no formal score – a points system was in place for various plays – three touchdowns were put up late in the scrimmage. A pair by senior running back Myles Willis (on runs of 10 and 40-plus yards) and an interception return by freshman linebacker John Lamot on the final play of the morning.

“I think it was a lot of fun to play full-on defense and football again,” junior linebacker Connor Strachan said. “Anytime you get a chance to scrimmage in a game-like atmosphere, it’s a ton of fun. It’s fun to get out there and compete with your teammates.”

Graduate quarterback Patrick Towles added, “All around at every positions, we had some mess ups today – including myself – so we have to watch the film, continue to get better and be better football team on Monday than we were today.”

One of the highlights of the morning was redshirt sophomore quarterback Darius Wade’s 40-plus yard connection with sophomore wide out Elijah Robinson from the one-yard line.

“In that situation – a goal line situation – everyone is pressed out,” Wade said. “They think it’s going to be a run. I had great protection and I was able to find my receiver down the field and we were able to make a play. It’s always great in a coming out situation where you need to flip the field and change the momentum.”

With tweaks and areas of focus coming into clarity after today’s scrimmage, the Eagles get back to the practice field next week for their second full week of practice. The team is scheduled to play its second intrasquad scrimmage next Saturday morning.

Boston College sports information assisted with this report.

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Steve Addazio is convinced the 2016 Eagles will be better: ‘I don’t need to prove it to myself or anybody’

08.13.16 at 12:24 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — If there’s anyone with the energy and belief that things will improve at Boston College, it’s Steve Addazio.

The 57-year-old football coach is entering his 22nd consecutive year of Division I coaching. His 21st was arguably his most difficult.

The Eagles went 3-9 and lost player after player on the offensive side of the ball. But now, with a transfer quarterback from Kentucky in Patrick Towles, who has dedicated the season to a gorilla, there’s new hope.

The Eagles held their first intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday and Addazio said, “a lot of good things happened.”

There’s Jon Hilliman, Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse and senior tight end Michael Giacone. The Eagles will look to pound the ball and get back to the type of complementary football that allowed the Eagles to use their defense to win close games.

Winning close games is not something the Eagles could do much of last year. They were in games against Clemson and Notre Dame, both ranked fifth in the nation at the time and in the national championship conversation. They lost at Duke, 9-7, at home in the regrettable Wake Forest ending (3-0), at Louisville (17-14), at Fenway against Notre Dame (19-16) and at Syracuse (20-17). That’s five games by three points or less.

A big reason so many of those games against the best competition were so close was the defense. Statistically, the Eagles had the top-ranked defense in the country last year.

“We were really good on defense last year,” Addazio said. “But we are not trying to beat our stats. They are not really relative that way. The biggest thing is winning.”

And that’s something the Eagles did precious little of a year ago. After going 3-9 in ’15, is there a record this year that will prove to Addazio that he’s got the program where he wants it and it’s heading in the right direction?

“I don’t need to prove it to myself or anybody really,” Addazio said. “To be honest with you I know the program is going where it is supposed to be going.”

So, there is a goal?

“Yes, the goal is to win the opener. And this is what I tell the team since I have been here,” Addazio said. “This is what I have been a part of everywhere in my career. Win the opener, get bowl eligible, then compete for a conference championship. That’s what you do. You try to win the opener, and then you try to get bowl eligible. All those. Those first two things I just said are well within the reach of this football team. And then you’ve got from there. I would never short. I would never say nothing can be done.”

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Read More: Boston College, Boston College Eagles, Steve Addazio,

Boston College quarterback dedicates season to Harambe

08.06.16 at 12:05 pm ET
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Patrick Towles transferring from Kentucky gave Boston College an intriguing option to compete with Darius Wade for the team’s starting quarterback spot.

He just made things more interesting and guaranteed that pretty much every casual fan will be pulling for him.

Checking in from the Cincinnati Zoo on Instagram, Towles posted a picture of himself on Friday and dedicated his senior season to Harambe, the gorilla who was killed at that very zoo and is currently on his second round of internet fame.

Dedicating this season to the realist there ever was… #RIPHARAMBE

A photo posted by Patrick Towles (@patty_ice_8) on

Towles would be well-served to not major in English (the word would be “realest” in the context in which he used it), but that’s a heck of a dedication.

Read More: Harambe, Patrick Towles,

BU, BC pour in goals, $55K in donations for Comm Ave Charity Classic

07.16.16 at 8:53 am ET
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In front of an enthusiastic Boston hockey crowd, alumni from the Boston University and Boston College hockey programs played in the Commonwealth Avenue Charity Classic at Walter Brown Arena Friday night and raised $55,000 for Compassionate Care ALS and the Travis Roy Foundation.

It was a game that brought smiles to the players and fans with 21 goals scored during 45 minutes of play and, more importantly, donations through ticket sales and raffles for hockey memorabilia to benefit both causes.

“Hockey has the tightest group of athletes that there is,” said Pat Mullane, a former BC hockey player who runs the Comm Ave Charity Classic. “It’s hard to get NHL players on the ice over the summer, especially on a Friday night. But a lot of them reached out to me and said they couldn’t wait to play. It goes to show that the hockey community is so willing to support one of their own [in Travis Roy as well as Pete Frates].”

Roy crashed awkwardly into the boards during his first shift for the Terriers in 1995, cracking two of his vertebrae and leaving him a quadriplegic. Since his injury, he has gone on to raise awareness and find a cure for spinal cord injury victims through the Travis Roy Foundation.

Frates, representing Compassionate Care ALS, was a Boston College outfielder who was diagnosed with ALS and has since raised awareness through the viral Ice Bucket Challenge.

Both of these men were a part of a ceremonial puck drop before the game, with Roy emphasizing the importance of the Boston hockey family and how much it means for a city to stand together against both ALS and spinal cord injuries.

“We are all here for Pete and Travis and how they inspire everyone,” said Nick Bonino, a former Terrier fresh off of a Stanley Cup victory with the Penguins. “We’re happy to all participate with their initiatives and what they do for the community, so it’s fun to play some hockey and raise money doing it.”

The game itself was everything a Boston hockey fan could have asked for, but BC fans went home a little happier than their BU counterparts, as the Eagles beat the Terriers 13-8.

Kevin Hayes started the scoring just 34 seconds into the game and stayed a consistent threat throughout the game with two goals and three assists. BU would go down 2-0 before fighting back in the last three minutes of the period and ending it with a buzzer beater from Sean Sullivan, one of the strongest defensive defensemen in the school’s 21st-century history.

The second period had its moments, ranging from a Danny O’Regan goal that sent the BU crowd back into a frenzy, to BC’s Dave Spina getting one past netminder Matt O’Connor that left those same fans speechless. The period ended with BU only down one after yet another buzzer beater, this time by Evan Rodrigues.

BC pulled away in the third, outscoring BU 7-3 in that period, including two empty-netters that all but sealed a victory for the maroon and gold.

“It doesn’t get any more fun than playing BC-BU,” said Johnny Gaudreau, the Calgary Flames’ 2015 Calder Award finalist who scored a hat trick for the Eagles. “Last year they took it to us, but this year thankfully we got the win. But it’s still a ton of fun for both teams, and it’s great to see guys you played with and played against.”

For the past and present Bruins on the ice, Shawn MacEachern, a Terrier who ended his career on the Bruins during the 2006 season and currently coaches local hockey, scored one and netted an assist. Meanwhile, Jay Pandolfo, known for his stellar college career at BU where he earned 167 points through 133 games, earned two assists. As for the Eagles, current Bruin Jimmy Hayes scored the first of two empty-netters late in the third and had two assists.

No matter the score, players from both sides were happy to play with former teammates, old heroes they looked up to, and of course, for legendary coaches Jerry York and Jack Parker.

“It brings back a lot of memories,” said Chris Higgins, who was part of BU’s 2009 national title team. “In the locker room and on the bench, guys were just talking about the good old days. [And Jack Parker] came in after one of the periods, joking around, and started yelling at us trying to pick it up.”

Parker, retired since 2013, was amazed with how well the event went, from gathering players to raising money, and was happy with how well tonight went for both foundations despite the loss.

“It’s amazing how many NHLers we have from BC and BU and how much fun it is watching them play,” said Parker. “And obviously, this was all for a good cause.”

Read More: BC hockey, bu hockey,

Luke Kuechly, Matt Ryan to have jerseys retired by BC

07.06.16 at 9:16 am ET
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Boston College announced Tuesday that it will retire the numbers of former football stars Luke Kuechly and Matt Ryan in ceremonies this fall. Kuechly’s No. 40 will be retired Oct. 22 at the Eagles’ game against Syracuse, while Ryan’s No. 12 will be retired Nov. 19 during a contest against UConn.

“On behalf of Boston College and Eagles fans everywhere, I would like to congratulate Luke and Matt on this well-deserved honor,” BC athletic director Brad Bates said in a statement. “Matt and Luke represent the very best of intercollegiate athletics and personify the Jesuit principle of ‘men and women for others.’ Both enjoyed brilliant collegiate careers and have gone on to enjoy success in the NFL. Beyond the gridiron you would be hard-pressed to find two gentlemen who conduct themselves with more integrity, disciple, generosity and kindness. They make all of us very proud.”

Kuechly was a two-time consensus first-team All-American and in consecutive seasons he led the nation in total tackles, tackles per game, solo tackles and solo tackles per game. His 532 career tackles is the most in BC history. In 2012 he won several postseason awards including the Dick Butkus Award (most outstanding linebacker), the Lott IMPACT Trophy (college football’s defensive best in character and performance), the Bronko Nagurski Award (top defensive player in college football) and the Rotary Lombardi Award (best linebacker in college football).

The linebacker was drafted ninth overall by the Panthers in 2012 and won the AP Defensive Rookie of Year that season. In 2013 he was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year. Despite suffering a concussion in Week 1 last season, Kuechly was able to help the Panthers establish one of the best defenses in the league and guide them to the Super Bowl. Last season he became the first linebacker to have multiple interception return touchdowns in a season during the Super Bowl era. In September 2015, Kuechly signed a five-year, $62 million extension, which gave him the highest annual average salary among middle linebackers.

“It’s a tremendous honor to have my jersey retired,” Kuechly said. “It is very important to me because of the love I have for Boston College and the memories I created not only on the field but throughout all of campus. It’s an honor to have my name in Alumni Stadium along with Doug Flutie, Mike Ruth and the other great players who have been recognized. I truly enjoyed my time at Boston College and would definitely choose BC if I had to do it again.”

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Read More: Luke Keuchly, Matt Ryan,

Frozen Fenway to return in January with 4 Hockey East games

06.29.16 at 1:25 pm ET
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Frozen Fenway is returning to Fenway Park with a pair of Hockey East doubleheaders on Jan. 7 and Jan. 14. The first Saturday will feature Boston University vs. UMass and Boston College vs. Providence, while the second weekend pits Maine vs. UConn and Northeastern vs. New Hampshire.

College hockey has previously visited Fenway in 2010, 2012 and 2014. This will be the fourth Frozen Fenway game for BC; third for BU, Northeastern and Maine; second for UMass, Providence and UNH; and first for UConn.

“Hockey East and our schools could not be more excited to take the ice once again at Fenway Park,” said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna in a statement. “Once Frozen Fenway 2017 is complete all 12 Hockey East schools will have played an outdoor game at Fenway Park, creating once-in-a-lifetime memories for the players, students, alumni and fans.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also announced a free public skate for Boston residents on the Fenway rink on Monday, Jan. 16. Game times, ticket information and additional Frozen Fenway games and events will be announced in the coming months.

BU ties record with 4 first-round picks in NHL draft

06.24.16 at 10:11 pm ET
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Charlie McAvoy went 14th overall to the Bruins. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Charlie McAvoy went 14th overall to the Bruins. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Boston University had a pretty good Friday night. The Terriers had a rising sophomore and three incoming freshmen selected in the first round of the NHL draft, tying a record for the most first-round picks from a college or Canadian junior team in a single draft.

Incoming freshman center Clayton Keller was the first Terrier off the board, as he went seventh overall to the Arizona Coyotes. Then the Boston Bruins took defenseman Charlie McAvoy, a rising sophomore, with the 14th pick.

Incoming freshman defenseman Dante Fabbro went three picks later to the Nashville Predators and incoming freshman winger Kieffer Bellows (son of former NHLer Brian Bellows) went two picks after that to the New York Islanders at 19.

Keller and Bellows played on the same line for the U.S. Under-18 Team last season, with Keller putting up 37 goals and 70 assists in 62 games and Bellows notching 50 goals and 31 assists in the same number of games.

McAvoy had three goals and 22 assists in 37 games for BU as a freshman, but 19 of those points came over his final 22 contests as both his offense and defense improved as the season went on. Fabbro tallied 14 goals and 53 assists in 45 games with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League.

Four other college or major junior teams had previously had four players selected in the first round. The 2006 University of Minnesota team was the only other college team to do it, but those four never actually played together — Phil Kessel had already played his freshman year and turned pro after the draft, while Erik Johnson, Kyle Okposo and David Fischer all came in after the draft.

This of course all comes with the caveat that the three incoming freshmen actually play for BU and don’t go pro or jump to major juniors. However, none of them appear to be much of a risk to do either of those, although there will certainly be rumors generated from major juniors because that’s what people in those circles do.

College/major junior teams who have had four first-round picks in one draft:

1969 Montreal Jr. Canadiens
Rejean Houle, Marc Tardif, Andre Dupont, J.P. Bordeleau

1972 Toronto Marlboros
Billy Harris, Steve Shutt, Dave Gardner, George Ferguson

1979 Brandon Wheat Kings
Laurie Boschman, Brian Propp, Brad McCrimmon, Ray Allison

2006 University of Minnesota
Erik Johnson, Phil Kessel, Kyle Okposo, David Fischer

2016 Boston University
Clayton Keller, Charlie McAvoy, Dante Fabbro, Kieffer Bellows

Read More: 2016 nhl draft, bu hockey,
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